Dr. Brian Timmons is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics. He is the Research Director and Clinical Development Lead of the Child Health & Exercise Medicine Program. He also holds status as Associate Member in the Department of Kinesiology, Investigator with the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Physical Education and Kinesiology at Brock University. Dr. Timmons was recruited into the Department of Pediatrics to continue the research program previously led by the late Dr. Oded Bar-Or.
Research in the CHEM program spans 4 broad themes in pediatric exercise science and medicine:
- We are interested in how the immune system is involved in the adaptation to physical activity during growth. Studies are investigating the impact of exercise on inflammation in children with a chronic inflammatory disease. To overcome some of the ethical limitations in exercise research with children, we are now developing an in vitro model of skeletal muscle adaptation. This model should prove useful in understanding the mechanisms linking physical activity with healthy growth and development.
- Another research theme deals with growth-related changes in energy metabolism during exercise and nutritional considerations for active children. In these studies we used stable isotope methods to examine the utilization of different macronutrients.
- Other studies investigate children’s exercise responses in different environmental conditions. We are currently investigating thermoregulation and rehydration in children.
- While most of our research deals with school-aged children, we also study the relationship between physical activity and health during early childhood. Current projects in this area have investigated the reliability of fitness tests in preschool children and the relationship to objectively measured physical activity using accelerometers.
Students and trainees at CHEM are exposed to a unique combination of clinical research methods and basic science techniques. Exercise laboratory protocols include cycle ergometry, indirect calorimetry, and spirometry. We rely heavily on accelerometry to measure free living physical activity in healthy children and in children with a chronic disease. ELISA, cell isolation and flow cytometry, metabolite analysis and stable isotope methods are also used in many of our studies.